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Bahamas looking to eradicate HIV

News that HIV has been deemed undetectable in a London patient following a stem cell transplant is landmark – after all, it is  only the second such case. 

However as Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands  said  to reporters outside Cabinet yesterday, it  is certainly not ready for what he called “ primetime.”

“It’s certainly not the approach we would want to take with everyone suffering with HIV, but I will say that The Bahamas has made the commitment to try to be the first country to eradicate HIV in the world. 

“We have now looked at whether we can become once again the world leader. The Bahamas was once the world leader in vertical transmission or mother to child transmission of HIV. 

“We kind of lost some ground;  we  believe that with modifying our approach to HIV,  to make sure that everybody that is tested has access to therapy and that the therapy suppresses the virus,” he said.         

A major component of HIV therapy is manufactured in The Bahamas.  According to Dr. Sands, the company behind this has expressed a willingness to partner with The Bahamas in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“We have revised our approach to the management of HIV, resisted HIV, we’ve modified the plan for testing HIV and we’re going to start rolling out a pilot program to do universal testing. 

“This would be voluntary obviously,  but once you know your status, then that’s the best way to avail yourself of treatment,” Dr. Sands said.     

There are said to be 5,000 plus people living with HIV. Meantime, UK researchers say it’s too early to say if the London patient has been cured of the disease.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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